Remarks at the Side Event: EU Drug Strategy
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for inviting me to address you at this side event on the European Union's Drug Strategy for the years 2013 to 2020.
Let me also thank the EU because it is one of UNODC's largest donors providing funding of around 140 million Euros.
Around 40 per cent of this funding currently goes to supporting our work in the area of illicit drugs.
I would, however, also like to thank the EU for the intellectual support it offers to UNODC, as well as its strong focus on policy coherence.
Such a desire for clarity is also apparent in the EU Drugs Strategy itself.
The strategy acknowledges the Political Declaration and Action Plan created to counter the world drug problem, and adopted by Member States in 2009.
The Plan of Action is the roadmap for the United Nation's approach to illicit drugs and it will be reviewed at a high level segment of the CND next year.
This review comes prior to a Special Session on illicit drugs to be held at the General Assembly in 2016.
The new strategy is founded on the fundamental principles of the EU, such as the rule of law and human rights, which correspond with the values of the charter of the United Nations.
The EU strategy also recognizes the central role played by the international drug control conventions in protecting the health and welfare of individuals and communities around the world from illicit drugs.
I would also highlight the cross cutting themes of the strategy. International cooperation based on the principle of shared responsibility is a key ingredient for success against illicit drugs.
UNODC also welcomes the EU's recognition of the need for a multilateral approach as well as its focus on research, information, monitoring and evaluation.
On data collection there is a need to coordinate between UNODC's global reporting system and the the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction's concentration on regional programmes.
UNODC has established contact with the coordinators of these programmes to harmonise reporting requirements.
We are also heavily promoting the importance of the health-based approach and there are new initiatives on controlled substances for pain relief and on standards for prevention of drug abuse.
My office also has a strong mandate on drug demand reduction, but funding is still needed to achieve the goals in this area.
I also take note of the strategy that "the drugs phenomenon is a national and international issue that needs to be addressed in a global context."
UNODC has consistently argued that while problems may be local, the solutions must be global.
This means recognizing that the problem of illicit drugs cannot be confronted at national borders, or in regions.
The principle of shared responsibility demands that we tackle these issues at their sources, but also along the transit routes and within destination countries.
In Afghanistan, UNODC estimates the production figure for opiates is around 80 per cent of the world's production total.
2014 and the withdrawal of international forces from the country is also approaching.
UNODC is working to ensure that we are able to confront any changes of circumstances in the country.
With 60 tons of heroin, worth US$13 billion, moving along the Balkans route to West and Central Europe, South Eastern Europe is also an important area for intervention.
UNODC's South Eastern Europe Regional Programme has done much, but it needs to be better funded if we are to successfully confront the many challenges in the region.
On the other side of the world, cocaine is also having an impact on Europe.
We estimate the West and Central European cocaine market at US$33 billion from a total global market of around US$85 billion.
While much of this is trafficked to Europe directly, a recent threat assessment for West Africa shows that 18 tons of cocaine were trafficked via the region to Europe in 2011.
UNODC also found the emergence of methamphetamine production and signs of increased heroin trafficking in the region.
Our response is to promote integrated regional programmes, and to connect them as a means of concentrating on the flow of drugs, as well as on specific countries or regions.
Given the fact that the EU Drug Strategy also calls for global solutions, I hope the EU will continue to recognize that acting beyond borders is as important as acting along borders.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I once again welcome the EU Drug Strategy and I look forward to working with the EU on the very many areas where our work is complementary.
I also reiterate that UNODC stands ready to work with the EU in furthering our joint cooperation and coordinated action to meet the threat of illicit drugs.